Dr Mitch Lomax, Sport and Exercise Scientist and Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology at the University of Portsmouth, gave an interview to Swimming Science in which she discussed her investigation into the breathing demands of swimming and the discovery that the occurrence and consequences of breathing muscle fatigue in swimming had been overlooked. 

In the interview Dr Lomax goes on to explain how in her study they found that Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue (IMF) occurs in all swimming strokes. Surprisingly being very fit does not prevent it, and as the amount of inspiratory muscle fatigue in trained swimmers can exceed 19%, a faster rate of limb muscle fatigue is also a real possibility.

Dr Lomax’s take home message from her study is that “IMF occurs during swimming, even in very well trained swimmers. It can negatively affect stroke characteristics, and has the potential to speed up the occurrence of limb muscle fatigue. The good news is that we can do something about it.”

So what can be done about it? Well Dr Lomax goes on to say that clearly swim training alone is not sufficient to protect against IMF, so “Targeted training of these muscles is my advice i.e. inspiratory muscle training (IMT).”

POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training specifically targets the breathing muscles, strengthening them by around 30-50%, significantly improving performance and helping to eliminate breathing fatigue.

Read the full Friday Interview on Swimming Science.

Dr Lomax’s main research centres upon the pulmonary limitations to exercise and the impact of respiratory muscle training on performance with a particular focus on swimmers, and you can view her Research Articles here.